US20130284370A1 - Independent control of rf phases of separate coils of an inductively coupled plasma reactor - Google Patents

Independent control of rf phases of separate coils of an inductively coupled plasma reactor Download PDF

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US20130284370A1
US20130284370A1 US13/804,616 US201313804616A US2013284370A1 US 20130284370 A1 US20130284370 A1 US 20130284370A1 US 201313804616 A US201313804616 A US 201313804616A US 2013284370 A1 US2013284370 A1 US 2013284370A1
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respective
phase
reactor
coupled
rf
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US9161428B2 (en
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Kenneth S. Collins
Satoru Kobayashi
Lawrence Wong
Jonathan Liu
Yang Yang
Kartik Ramaswamy
Shahid Rauf
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Applied Materials Inc
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Applied Materials Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05HPLASMA TECHNIQUE; PRODUCTION OF ACCELERATED ELECTRICALLY-CHARGED PARTICLES OR OF NEUTRONS; PRODUCTION OR ACCELERATION OF NEUTRAL MOLECULAR OR ATOMIC BEAMS
    • H05H1/00Generating plasma; Handling plasma
    • H05H1/24Generating plasma
    • H05H1/46Generating plasma using applied electromagnetic fields, e.g. high frequency or microwave energy
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01JELECTRIC DISCHARGE TUBES OR DISCHARGE LAMPS
    • H01J37/00Discharge tubes with provision for introducing objects or material to be exposed to the discharge, e.g. for the purpose of examination or processing thereof
    • H01J37/32Gas-filled discharge tubes, e.g. for surface treatment of objects such as coating, plating, etching, sterilising or bringing about chemical reactions
    • H01J37/32009Arrangements for generation of plasma specially adapted for examination or treatment of objects, e.g. plasma sources
    • H01J37/32082Radio frequency generated discharge
    • H01J37/321Radio frequency generated discharge the radio frequency energy being inductively coupled to the plasma
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01JELECTRIC DISCHARGE TUBES OR DISCHARGE LAMPS
    • H01J37/00Discharge tubes with provision for introducing objects or material to be exposed to the discharge, e.g. for the purpose of examination or processing thereof
    • H01J37/32Gas-filled discharge tubes, e.g. for surface treatment of objects such as coating, plating, etching, sterilising or bringing about chemical reactions
    • H01J37/32009Arrangements for generation of plasma specially adapted for examination or treatment of objects, e.g. plasma sources
    • H01J37/32082Radio frequency generated discharge
    • H01J37/32174Circuits specially adapted for controlling the RF discharge
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05HPLASMA TECHNIQUE; PRODUCTION OF ACCELERATED ELECTRICALLY-CHARGED PARTICLES OR OF NEUTRONS; PRODUCTION OR ACCELERATION OF NEUTRAL MOLECULAR OR ATOMIC BEAMS
    • H05H1/00Generating plasma; Handling plasma
    • H05H1/24Generating plasma
    • H05H1/46Generating plasma using applied electromagnetic fields, e.g. high frequency or microwave energy
    • H05H2001/4645Radiofrequency discharges
    • H05H2001/4682Associated power generators, e. G. Circuits, matching networks

Abstract

Plasma distribution is controlled in a plasma reactor by controlling the phase differences between different RF coil antennas, in accordance with a desired or user-selected phase difference, by a phase-lock feedback control loop.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/638,876 filed Apr. 26, 2012 entitled INDEPENDENT CONTROL OF RF PHASES OF SEPARATE COILS OF AN INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA REACTOR, by Kenneth S. Collins, et al.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Plasma processing of a workplace in the fabrication of integrated circuits, plasma displays, solar panels or the like requires uniform treatment of the workpiece across its surface. For example, in plasma processing of semiconductor wafers, feature sizes are on the order of nanometers, and uniformity and control of plasma ion distribution density across the workpiece surface is critical. Uniformity of distribution of etch rate or deposition rate across the surface of workpiece is required, as workpiece size (e.g., semiconductor wafer diameter) is increasing, and feature sizes are decreasing. Non-uniformity in plasma processing can arise from non-uniformities or asymmetries in the reactor chamber electrical characteristics, non-uniformity in the distribution of process gases and flow rates, or non-uniformity in the application of RF power, for example. It is necessary to correct or compensate for such non-uniformities .
  • SUMMARY
  • A plasma reactor for processing a workplace includes a vacuum chamber, a workplace support pedestal in the chamber having a workplace support surface, and plural coil antennas. Plural RF power generators are coupled to respective ones of the plural coil antennas, one of the plural RF generators being a reference RF generator. A clock signal source is coupled to the reference RF power generator, and respective phase shifters are coupled between the clock signal source and at least respective ones of the RF power generators other than the reference RF generator, each the phase shifter having a phase shifter control input. Plural RF sensor probes area coupled or adjacent respective ones of the plural RF coil antennas. Respective phase detectors are provided, each having a phase detector output and a respective pair of phase detector inputs, one of the phase detector inputs being coupled to a respective ones of the plural RF sensor probes other than the RF sensor probe, the other one of the phase detector inputs of each of the plural RF sensor probes being coupled to the RE sensor probe corresponding to the reference RF coil antenna. A user interface has respective user interface outputs defining a user-selected phase difference between the reference RF coil antenna and a respective one of the remaining RF sensor probes. A feedback controller stage is coupled to (a) respective ones of the phase detector outputs and (b) respective ones of the user interface outputs, the feedback controller stage further comprising respective controller outputs coupled to respective ones of the phase shifter control inputs. The feedback controller stage may be either a single feedback controller or a pair of feedback controllers coupled to the outputs of respective ones of the phase detectors.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • So that the manner in which the exemplary embodiments of the present invention are attained and can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to the embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be appreciated that certain well known processes are not discussed herein in order to not obscure the invention.
  • FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C constitute a schematic block diagram of a first embodiment of a plasma reactor for controlling radial distribution of plasma ions, by the phase differences between RF power applied to different coil antennas.
  • FIGS. 1D, 1E and 1F depict alternative configurations of an overhead inductively coupled RF coil antenna.
  • FIG. 1G is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 1A.
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagrams of phase detectors employed in the embodiment of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C employing I-Q demodulators phase comparators.
  • FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C constitute a schematic block diagram of a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C, in which a single feedback controller is shared between two independent feedback control loops using multiplexing.
  • To facilitate understanding, identical reference numerals have been used, where possible, to designate identical elements that are common to the figures. It is contemplated that elements and features of one embodiment may be beneficially incorporated in other embodiments without further recitation. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only exemplary embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The plasma reactor described herein provides control of radial distribution of plasma ion density by controlling the phase difference between RF source power waveforms applied to different RF coil antennas. In the described embodiments, the RF coil antennas are concentric coils overlying a ceiling of the chamber of the plasma reactor, The RF power distribution at the surface of the workpiece affects plasma ion density, which in turn affects process rate distribution. The process may be an etch process or a deposition process, for example.
  • In general, RF power of the same frequency is applied to the three RF coil antennas. Radial distribution of plasmas ion density is controlled by controlling the phase differences between the RF power waveforms applied to the three RF coil antennas. Non-uniformity in plasma ion distribution causes non-uniformity in etch rate distribution or deposition rate distribution across the treated surface of the workpiece or wafer. Different non-uniformities in etch or deposition rate may be reduced by selecting different phase differences among the three RF power waveforms applied to the three RF coil antenna. Controlling the phase differences amount the RF coil antennas may be employed to reduce any observed non-uniformity in radial distribution of process rate on the treated surface of the workpiece. While the foregoing description refers to controlling RF power waveforms applied to three RF coil antennas, there may be more than three RF coil antennas among which the phase differences may be adjusted.
  • Measuring the phase differences between the different RF coil antennas is most easily done taking measurements at the RF power generator outputs to the three RF coil antennas. Such a measurement is typically inaccurate, because there is an RF impedance match circuit in the path to each RF coil antenna, which distorts the measurement.
  • One problem is that it is difficult to control the phase difference manually when the process recipe requires fast adjustment of the phase difference. The problem may foe addressed by providing a feedback control loop responsive to a selection of the desired phase difference at a user interface. However, we have discovered that such a feedback control loop can be unreliable or unstable when responding to a phase difference between RF power waveforms of high frequency. Other sources of instability can lead to “dead-zones” in a 0° to 360° phase angle range, in which the feedback control loop cannot reach or hold a phase angle within the dead-zone. These problems are addressed in embodiments described below.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C, a plasma reactor includes vacuum chamber enclosure 100 that includes a cylindrical, side wall 105, a floor 110, and a ceiling 115. Three concentric RF coil antennas 124 a, 124 b and 124 c overlie the ceiling 115. As shown in FIG. 1D, each one of the coil antennas may be formed, as single conductor wound in a cylindrical helix. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 1E, each individual one of the coil antennas 124 a, 124 b, 124 c may be an interleaved coil of plural (e.g., two or three) parallel windings axially fed in a symmetrical manner. In the example of FIG. 1E, each one of the outer coil 124 c and the intermediate coil 124 b consists of three windings with their feed points (terminations) separated by 120 degree intervals, while the inner coil 124 a. consists of two windings with their feed points separated by 180 degrees. The feed points are the conductor terminations farthest above the ceiling, while the conductor terminations nearest the ceiling are grounded. As indicated in phantom line in FIG. 1D, the outer coil 124 e may be located or wrapped around the side wall and below the height of the ceiling. Moreover, the ceiling may be dome-shaped, so that different portions of the coils are located at different heights above the workpiece. As shown in FIG. 1F, one or ail of the coils 124 a, 124 b and/or 124 c may be flat or “pancake” coils.
  • The ceiling 115 may be formed of a dielectric, non-conductive or semiconductive material. A pedestal 120 extends through the floor 110 and holds a workpiece support 125 including a workpiece support electrode 130 underlying a workpiece support surface and facing the ceiling 115.
  • A workpiece such as semiconductor wafer 135 may be held on the support surface of the workpiece support 125. Hot shown in the drawings are gas injection and gas distribution apparatus of the reactor chamber 100, an exhaust port in the floor 110 and a vacuum pump coupled to the exhaust port. A bias RF power generator 150 may be provided and coupled through a bottom RF impedance match circuit 155 to the workpiece support electrode 130 by a bottom coaxial feed 157.
  • As shown in the enlarged view of FIG. 1G, the workpiece support 125 embodies an electrostatic chuck, including an insulating puck 126 in which the electrode 130 is embedded. A D.C. chucking voltage supply 127 is connected through a low pass isolation filter 128 to the electrode 130, The electrode 130 functions as an electrostatic chucking electrode as well as an electrode through which RF bias power from the RF generator 150 is coupled to the plasma. The workpiece support 125 is may be raised toward the ceiling electrode 115 or depressed away from the ceiling electrode so as to controllably vary the workpiece-to-ceiling gap. For this purpose, an actuator 129 coupled to the workpiece support raises and depresses the workpiece support 125. A process controller 131 may govern the actuator 129 and the D.C. voltage supply 127.
  • Three RF power amplifiers 140 a, 140 b and 140 c are coupled through respective RF impedance match circuits 145 a, 145 b and 145 c to the respective RF coil antennas 124 a, 124 b and 124 c. One of the three RF power amplifiers is selected as the “reference” RF power amplifier, to which the phases of the other two RF power amplifiers are referenced. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C, the reference RF power amplifier is the BP power amplifier 140 c coupled to the outermost RF coil antenna 124 c. The reference RF power amplifier 140 c is synchronized directly with a clock generator 142.
  • The RF power amplifiers 140 a, 140 b and 140 c produce the same fixed frequency, Fgen, which may be 13.56 MHz in one example. The RF power amplifiers 140 a and 140 b are separately synchronized with the clock 142 through respective controllable phase shifters 151 and 152, The phase shifter 151 receives the signal from the clock 142 at its input port 151 a and provides at its output port 151 b a first phase-shifted version of the output of the clock 142. The amount by which the signal at the output port 151 b is phase-shifted from the signal at the input port 151 a is determined by the phase shifter 151 in accordance with a control signal applied to its control input 151 c.
  • In similar manner, the phase shifter 152 receives the signal from the clock 142 at its input port 152 a and provides at its output port 152 b a second phase-shifted version of the output of the clock 142. The amount by which the signal at the output port 152 b is phase-shifted from the signal at the input port 152 a is determined by the phase shifter 152 in accordance with a control signal applied to its control input 152 c. The first and second phase-shifted versions of the clock signal determine the phases of the RF power amplifiers 140 a, 140 b relative to the reference RF power amplifier 140 c.
  • The term “phase shifter” as used in this specification includes any suitable device capable of shifting phase of an RF or oscillator signal in response to a control signal. Such a device may be a passive or active device, and may be implemented with passive variable reactance elements or active RF circuits or digital circuits, for example.
  • Three RF sensor probes 160 a, 160 b and 160 c are placed near or adjacent (or on) the three RF coil antennas 124 a, 124 b and 124 c, respectively. Each RF sensor probe 160 a, 160 b and 160 c may be a sensor probe or other suitable probe, such as a voltage probe, and may be of the type disclosed in related U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US-2012-0086464-A1 published Apr. 12, 2012 entitled IN-SITU VHP VOLTAGE/CURRENT SEtiSORS FOR A PLASMA REACTOR, by Hiroji Hanawa, et al. Placement of the sensor probes 160 a-160 c at each of the RF coil antennas 124 a-124 c in this manner provides accurate measurement of phase, without distortion by the RF impedance matches 145 a-145 c.
  • Bandpass filters 171 a, 171 b and 171 c remove noise (such as noise attributable to plasma sheath harmonics) from the signals output by the sensor probes 160 a, 160 b and 160 c, respectively.
  • The filtered RF signals from the sensor probe 160 a (corresponding to the inner RF coil antenna) and the sensor probe 160 c (corresponding to the outer RF coil antenna 124 c) are applied to a pair of inputs 402 a and 404 a of a first phase detector 400 a. The filtered RF signals from the sensor probe 160 b (corresponding to the middle RF coil antenna 124 b) and the sensor probe 160 c (corresponding to the outer EF coil antenna 124 c) are applied to a pair of inputs 402 b and 404 b of a second phase detector 400 b. The first phase detector 400 a produces an output signal at its output 406 a representing the measured phase between the inner and outer coil antennas 124 a and 124 c. The second phase detector 400 b produces an output signal at its output 406 b representing the measured phase between the middle RF coil antenna 124 b and the outer RF coil antenna 124 c. Each phase detector 400 a and 400 b may be of the same structure. One embodiment of the first phase detector 400 a is now described with reference to FIG. 2.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, the first phase detector 400 a may include an optional frequency down conversion stage 408 a. The down conversion stage 408 a includes a crystal-controlled local oscillator 180 a having an output frequency Flo1 which differs from the RF power generator frequency Fgen by a difference frequency Fd. A bandpass filter 182 a centered at Flo1 filters the output of the local oscillator 180 a. The down conversion stage 408 a also includes first and second mixers 184 a and 186 a. The first mixer 184 a combines the signal received from the first input port '102 a with the output of the local oscillator 180 a to produce a first modulated signal. A band pass filter 185 a extracts the lower sideband (the difference frequency Fd) from the first modulated signal. A second mixer 186 a combines the signal received from the second input port 404 a with the output of the local oscillator 180 a to produce a second modulated signal. A band pass filter 187 a extracts the lower sideband (the difference frequency Fd) from the second modulated signal.
  • The outputs of the down conversion stage 408 a represent outputs of the RF sensor probes 160 a and 160 c that have been down-converted in frequency (i.e., from Fgen to Fd). The RF power generator frequency Fgen may be an HF frequency, while the down-converted frequency Fd may be in the medium frequency (MF) or low frequency CLE) band, for example. The down conversion stage 408 a may not be required in some applications, and may be eliminated if desired.
  • In a phase comparator 194 a, the down-converted RF probe outputs are converted to respective square wave signals by respective sine wave-to-square wave converters 190 a and 192 a. The phase comparator 194 a further includes a phase-lock-loop (PLL) phase comparator 195 a which measures the phase difference between the signals produced by the pair of sine wave-to-square wave converters 190 a and 192 a. The phase comparator 194 a produces a phase difference signal at the phase detector output 406 a representing a measured phase angle between the signals derived from the RF probes 160 a and 160 c received at the phase detector inputs 402 a and 404 a.
  • The structure of the second phase detector 400 b is now described with reference to FIG. 2. The second phase detector 400 b may include an optional frequency down conversion stage 408 b including a crystal-controlled local oscillator 180 b having an output frequency Flo2 which differs from the RF power generator frequency Fgen by a difference frequency Fd. A bandpass filter 182 b centered at Flo2 filters the output of the local oscillator 180 b. The down conversion stage 408 b further includes first and second mixers 184 b and 186 b. The first mixer 184 b combines the signal received from the first input port 402 b with the output of the local-oscillator 180 b to produce a first modulated signal. A first band pass filter 185 b extracts the lower sideband (the difference frequency Fd) from the first modulated signal. The second mixer 186 b combines the signal received from the second input port 404 b with the output of the local oscillator 180 b to produce a second modulated signal. A band pass filter 187 b extracts the lower sideband, (the difference frequency Fd) from the second modulated signal.
  • The outputs of the down conversion stage 408 b represent outputs of the RF sensor probes 160 b and 160 c that have been down-converted in frequency (i.e., from Fgen to Fd). The down conversion stage 408 b may not be required in some applications, and may be dispensed with if desired. The phase detector 400 b further includes a phase comparator 194 b in which down-converted RF probe outputs are converted to respective square wave signals by respective sine wave-to-square wave converters 190 b and 192 b. The phase comparator 194 b further includes a phase lock loop (PLL) phase comparator 195 b which measures the phase difference between the signals produced by the pair of sine wave-to-square wave converters 190 b and 192 b. The phase comparator 194 b produces a phase difference signal representing a measured phase angle between the pair of RF probe outputs received at the phase detector inputs 402 b and 404 b.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C, a first low pass filter 200 a filters the phase difference signal from the output 406 a of the first phase detector 400 a, and functions as a feedback loop filter. A first feedback controller 210 a, which may be implemented as a microprocessor, senses a difference between the phase difference signal from the low pass filter 200 a and a first user-selected phase difference. The first user-selected phase difference is the desired phase difference between the inner and outer RF coil antennas 160 a and 160 c chosen by the user, and may be furnished to the feedback controller 210 a from a first user interface output 215 a of a user interface 215. The user interface 215 may be implemented, for example, as a personal computer or other device having a keyboard or touch-sensitive screen or similar input device.
  • Similarly, a second low pass filter 200 b filters the phase difference signal from the output 406 b of the second phase detector 400 b, and functions as a feedback loop filter. A second feedback controller 210 b, which may be implemented as a microprocessor, senses a difference between the phase difference signal from the second low pass filter 200 b and a second user-selected phase difference from a second user interface output 215 b of the user interface 215. The second user-selected phase difference is the desired phase difference between the middle and outer RF coil antennas 160 b and 160 c chosen by the user. The first and second user-selected phase differences may be selected through the user interface independently of each other.
  • Each feedback controller 210 a and 210 b produces a signal representing an error or difference between the user-selected phase difference (from the respective user interface output 215 a and 215 b) and the measured phase difference (from the respective phase detector 400 a and 400 b). Each error signal is applied as corrective (negative) feedback to the control input of the respective the phase shifter 151, 152. For example, if the first measured phase difference detected by the phase detector 400 a. is greater than the first user-selected phase difference, then the error signal is applied to the control input 151 c of the first phase shifter 151 so as to decrease the phase difference established by the phase shifter 151. Similarly, if the measured phase difference is less than the user-selected phase difference, then the error signal is applied to the control input 151 c of the phase shifter 151 so as to increase the phase difference established by the phase shifter 151.
  • The range of the voltage at the phase shifter control input required to swing each phase shifter 151 r 152 through a range of phase angles (e.g., 0° through 360°) may differ from the voltage range produced by each feedback controller 210 a, 210 b for the corresponding range. Therefore, operational amplifiers 220 a and 220 b may be employed at the outputs of the respective feedback controllers 210 a and 210 b to provide the appropriate shifts in voltage range.
  • The system of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C embodies a feedback control system with two independent feedback loops. In each different loop, the measured phase difference between a respective pair of the three RF coil antennas 160 a-160 c (e.g., the first pair 160 a, 160 c and the second pair 160 b, 160 c) is compared to a user-selected phase difference for that respective pair, by the respective feedback controller 210 a or 210 b. Each comparison defines an error. Based upon that error, each of the feedback controllers 210 a, 210 b provides a negative feedback or error signal to the respective phase shifter 151, 152. Each phase comparator 195 a, 195 b and each feedback controller 210 a, 210 b operates in synchronism with a clock (e.g., the clock 142) in successive iterations. Each iteration results in an updated error signal from each feedback controller 210 a, 210 b, resulting in a succession of error signals applied to the respective phase shifter control input 151 c, 152 c.
  • Respective integrators 230 a and 230 b may be provided at the outputs of the respective feedback controllers 210 a and 210 b. Each integrator 230 a, 230 b may be implemented as a memory storing the last n error signals VO where the index i ranges from 1 (the current iteration) to n (the oldest iteration). The number n may lie in a range of integers from 5 to 100 or 1000 or more, for example. Each integrator 230 a, 230 b computes the average over the last n error signals and outputs this average as the feedback control signal to the phase shifter control input 151 c or 152 c. This averaging process improves the stability of each feedback control loop.
  • The frequency down-conversion provided by the down conversion stages 408 a and 408 b in the phase detectors 400 a and 400 b reduces the frequency of the signals processed by the feedback control loop to within a range or capability of each phase comparator 195 a, 195 b. This improves the performance and stability of each feedback control loop.
  • The rate at which each feedback controller 210 a, 210 b produces the succession of error signals is determined by the sampling rate r at which each controller 210 a, 210 b samples the output of the respective phase detector 400 a, 400 b. Stability of the feedback loop over a complete range of values (e.g., 0°-360°) of the user-selected phase difference is enhanced by establishing the sampling rate r to be sufficiently great so that the time between samples T=1/r is less than the settling time, t, of the impedance matches 145 a, 145 b, 145 c, preferably by a factor of 10, or 100 or 1000, for example. The impedance match settling time, t, is the time required for the impedance match to complete a change in impedance in response to a sensed change in load impedance on the RF generator, and is principally a function of the speed of stepper motors (not shown in the drawing) controlling unillustrated variable capacitors in the impedance matches 145 a, 145 b and 145 c. For example, the settling time, t, may be measured using a variable RF load connected to the output of the impedance match, making a discrete change in the impedance of the RF load, and observing the amount of time required for the impedance match to stabilize following the change,
  • FIG. 3 depicts a modification of the phase detectors 400 a, 400 b of FIG. 2, in which the PLL phase comparators 195 a, 195 b are replaced by I-Q demodulators 300 a, 300 b respectively. (The PLL phase comparators 195 a, 195 b and the IQ demodulators 300 a, 300 b are herein referred to generically as phase comparators.) Each IQ demodulator 300 a, 300 b has a pair of RF inputs, RF1 and RF2, connected to the outputs of the band pass filters 185 a, 187 a and 185 b, 187 b, respectively. Each I-Q demodulator 300 a, 300 b has four outputs, namely an in-phase output I1 and a quadrature output Q1 derived from the input RF1, and an in-phase output 12 and a quadrature output Q2 derived from the input RF2. If θ1 is the phase of the signal at RF1 and θ2 is the phase of the signal at RF2, then I1 represents cosθ1, Q1 represents sinθ1, I2 represents cosθ2, and Q2 represents sinθ2. For each IQ demodulator 300 a, 300 b, a phase difference (θ12) can be computed from the four outputs of the individual IQ demodulator. Respective processors 311 a and 311 b are provided at the output of the respective IQ demodulators 300 a and 300 b. Each processor 311 a, 311 b is adapted to compute the measured phase difference from the four IQ output signals I1, Q1, I2 and Q2 of the respective IQ demodulator. The measured phase difference is provided to an input of a respective one of a pair of feedback controllers 210 a, 210 b. Each feedback controller 210 a, 210 b computes an error between the measured phase difference and a respective user-selected phase difference furnished by the user interface 215, and produces a corrective feedback control signal based upon the computed, error.
  • The frequency down-conversion provided by the down conversion stages 408 a and 408 b reduces the frequency of the signals processed by the IQ demodulators 300 a and 30 b down to a value within the range or capability of the IQ demodulators, and promotes stability of each feedback control loop.
  • FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C depict a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C, in which a single feedback controller 210 is shared between the two independent feedback control loops using time-division multiplexing. The outputs of the respective sensor probe pairs (e.g., the probe pair 160 a, 160 c and the probe pair 160 b, 160 c) are enabled in different time windows by a multiplexer 420 so that the phase detectors 400 a and 400 b produce output signals during alternate time windows. The user interface outputs 215 a and 215 b (defining the user-selected phases of the inner and middle coil antennas 160 a and 160 b, respectively) are likewise controlled in synchronization with the multiplexer 420, so as to be enabled during the alternate time windows. During alternate time intervals, the feedback controller 210 responds to alternate ones of the phase detectors 400 a, 400 b and alternate ones of the user interface outputs 215 a, 215 b. The feedback controller 210, through a demultiplexer 425, applies corresponding error signals to alternate ones of the phase shifters 151, 152 during the alternate time windows. The respective outputs of the demultiplexer 425 may be coupled to the respective phase shifter control inputs 151 c and 152 c through respective integrators 230 a and 230 b and through respective operational amplifiers 220 a and 220 b.
  • In the embodiment of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C, there are two feedback controllers 210 a and 210 b, while in the embodiment of FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C there is a single feedback controller 210. The pair of feedback controllers 210 a and 210 b of FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C and the single feedback controller 210 of FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C may be referred to genetically as a feedback controller stage.
  • While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.

Claims (17)

What is claimed is:
1. A plasma reactor for processing a workpiece/ comprising:
a vacuum chamber comprising a ceiling and a side wall, a workpiece support pedestal in said chamber having a workpiece support surface, and plural coil antennas;
plural impedance matches and plural RF power amplifiers coupled to respective ones of said plural coil antennas through respective ones of said plural impedance matches, one of said plural RF amplifiers being a reference RF amplifier;
a clock signal source coupled to said reference RF power amplifier, and respective phase shifters coupled between said clock signal source and at least respective ones of the RF power amplifiers other than said reference RF amplifier, each said phase shifter having a phase shifter control input;
plural RF sensor probes coupled or adjacent respective ones of said plural RF coil antennas, one of said RF sensor probes being a reference RF sensor probe;
respective phase detectors each having a phase detector output and a respective pair of phase detector inputs, one of said phase detector inputs being coupled to a respective ones of said plural RF sensor probes other than the reference RF sensor probe, the other one of said phase detector inputs of each of said plural RF sensor probes being coupled to said reference RE sensor probe;
a user interface having respective user interface outputs defining a user-selected phase difference between said reference RF sensor probe and a respective one of the remaining RF sensor probes; and
a feedback controller stage coupled to (a) respective ones of said phase detector outputs and (b) respective ones of said user interface outputs, said feedback controller further comprising respective controller outputs coupled to respective ones of said phase shifter control inputs.
2. The reactor of claim 1 wherein said feedback controller stage comprises a pair of respective feedback controllers having respective pairs of inputs coupled to (a) a respective one of said phase detector outputs and (b) a respective one of said user interface outputs, each of said respective feedback controllers comprising a respective one of said respective controller outputs,
3. The reactor of claim 1 wherein said feedback controller stage comprises a single feedback controller, said reactor further comprising a multiplexer for causing respective ones of said phase detector outputs and respective ones of said user interface outputs to reach said single feedback controller during respective time windows, and a demultiplexer coupled between and output of said single feedback controller and respective ones of said phase shifter control inputs.
4. The reactor of claim 1 wherein each said phase detector comprises:
a frequency down conversion stage having respective inputs coupled to said voltage probes and respective outputs; and
a phase comparator having and output and a pair of inputs coupled to the respective outputs of said frequency down conversion stage.
5. The reactor of claim 1 further comprising an integrator coupled between said controller stage and said phase shifter control input,
6. The reactor of claim 5 wherein:
said feedback controller stage is adapted to produce successive correction signals;
said integrator is adapted to provide to said phase shifter control input an average over n of the previous successive correction signals.
7. The reactor of claim 6 wherein n is an integer in a range up to 5.
8. The reactor of claim 6 wherein n is an integer in a range up to 100.
9. The reactor of claim 6 wherein n is an integer in a range up to 1000.
10. The reactor of claim 6 wherein said successive correction signals correspond to a sampling period T, and wherein T is less than a settling time of one of said impedance matches by a factor greater than 10.
11. The reactor of claim 4 wherein each said phase comparator comprises:
respective sine wave-to-square wave converters coupled to said respective outputs of said frequency down conversion stage;
a phase lock loop phase comparator coupled to said respective sine wave-to-square wave converters.
12. The reactor of claim 4 wherein said phase comparator comprises an IQ demodulator.
13. The reactor of claim 1 wherein said workpiece support comprises an electrostatic chuck (ESC), said ESC comprising an insulating puck having a top surface for supporting a workpiece, an ESC electrode embedded in said insulating puck layer, and a D.C. chucking voltage supply coupled to said ESC electrode.
14. The reactor of claim 1 wherein said plural coil antennas comprise plural helically wound conductors in respective cylindrical solenoids.
15. The reactor of claim 14 wherein each one of said plural helically wound conductors comprises plural parallel, interleaved conductors.
16. The reactor of claim 15 wherein said respective cylindrical solenoids comprise inner and intermediate solenoids overlying said ceiling and an outer solenoid below said ceiling and surrounding a portion of said side wall.
17. The reactor of claim 1 wherein said coil antennas each comprise respective conductors concentrically wound in flat spirals.
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